Towards the end of the film Man Of Steel, there is a shot – intentional or otherwise – where Henry Cavill (the actor playing the part of Superman) looks very much like Christopher Reeve. My heart, which had begun its decline from virtually the opening moments of the film, sank even lower. Oh how I missed those earlier Superman films. They had story, character, charm, fun and… colour.
When I had first seen the poster advertising the Man Of Steel I knew, once again, this film was going to be ‘dark’. Superman’s costume was a dulled blue and red. This dull, muted look was to be a constant throughout the film.
Neither the story or visuals had any sense of light and dark. Everything was grey. And not even fifty shades of it.
In the original Superman film, Marlon Brando, who played Superman’s Father Jor-El, was famously only on screen for around 10 minutes. Oh if only that had been the case with Russell Crowe. How long we had to endure his “Look at me acting face”. At least Kevin Costner had the decency to look bored, especially as he repeated the “You are here for a reason, son” and “You will achieve great things, son” and “When’s the lunch break, son”?
Costner’s scenes were ridiculous. His son has super powers yet he decides that he himself will go back to the car – during a tornado – to rescue the dog. His ‘reason’ for this was that no one witnessed his son’s powers. Really? If his son had gone back to the car and opened the door for the dog no one would have noticed. Or cared. When Costner stood there preparing to be taken away by the tornado he must have had difficulty not to jump for joy over the fact he was about to leave the film.
Father(s) and son was of course the theme of this mess. And it was repeated ad nauseam. From seeing Superman lying motionless under the sea – eyes closed and arms outstretched – it was pretty obvious as to what imagery was being sought. And if this wasn’t clear enough, there was the most incongruous scene of Clark Kent, in a church, standing next to a lead light of Jesus. I can only assume the onscreen caption of “He’s meant to be like Jesus” will be reintroduced in the Director’s Cut. (I wonder if the two Jewish guys who created Superman had even thought of this analogy).
And what of the actor who played Kal-El/Superman/Clark Kent. Well he wasn’t bad at all bearing in mind what he had been given to work with – although I could have done without the constant use of his ‘super frown’.
This film lacked any aspect of fun. The fun was instead replaced with long, long scenes of dialogue and exposition, endless identical fighting scenes and a plot which relied heavily on convenience. For example; Zod and Superman were fighting – for what felt like 3 days – all over the place. However, fortunately, they ended up back where they started so that Lois Lane could watch the end of the fight. Aaaaw… isn’t that nice. Speaking of Lois Lane, why was she taken onto Zod’s ship?? (Obviously apart from resolving the ‘plot’ at the end).
I have been a comic book fan since I was a child and there have been some fantastic superhero films made from them over the years; X Men, Spiderman 1 and 2, most of the Batman films, The Avengers…. to name just a few. I did feel the recent Spider Man film (The Amazing Spider Man) whilst not a bad film was just unnecessary. I felt Man of Steel was unnecessary too. It didn’t reboot the franchise in the same way as Batman Begins had – even though that’s what it aspired to be. I actually felt nostalgic for Superman Returns and even Superman IV The Quest For Peace.
My expectations were quite high when I heard who was to be producing this film and then even higher when I heard who would be directing it. However, once I started watching it my expectations quickly vanished.
Up, up and away….